Imported Chilean clementines are arriving at U.S. ports…Meanwhile new onion packinghouses are announced for onions in the Western U.S.
Thanks to the end of lengthy drought, the first Chilean clementines of the season have arrived at North American ports a couple of weeks earlier than last year. Improved growing conditions have led to better fruit quality.
The clementines departed from the port of Valparaiso in mid-April and arrived in the U.S. in early May.
About 12,260 boxes were in the first shipment, nearly 90 percent of which ended up on the East Coast. Total imported volume will be slightly less than 2016, with about 42,000 tons exported between April and July.
In 2016, 99 percent of all Chilean clementines were shipped to North America, and that is once again expected to be the case this year. As clementine shipments begin winding down in July, mandarin volume will pick up, with shipments continuing into October.
Mandarin volume should increase 26 percent, while clementine volume likely will be down about two percent.
Sun Pacific Shippers Inc., of Pasadena, CA markets the Cuties brand and started Chilean mandarins shipments to customers this week.
The clemenule variety will be available into August, and the w. murcott and tango varieties will be available mid-August through the beginning of the California season in October.
Seald Sweet LLC, Vero Beach, FL received its first clementines from Chile in mid-May,
Rio Valley Onion of Hatch, NM has a new onion packinghouse, while Golden West Produce of Parma, ID will have a new packinghouse and three new storage facilities before the end of the summer.
The Hatch facility construction was finished in April, when packing got underway in late May. Golden West began construction on its new buildings in March. Those should be completed in mid-August, and initial production is planned for the last week of August.
Golden West, previously based in Nyssa, Ore., lost six buildings in January in back-to-back heavy snows that collapsed many onion facilities in the region.
The company’s new onion packinghouse will be 65,000 square feet, and at full capacity be able to produce 3,000-3,500 50-pound packages per hour.
Rio Valley Onion, a partnership between Lack Farms and Kit Carson Farms, both based in Hatch, will have a 75,000-square foot packing facility.
Besides packing the onion acreage of Lack Farms and Kit Carson Farms, Rio Valley Onion will also pack product from other growers in New Mexico and Mexico.